The SMART About Water Program Comes to an End
In 2008, the National Environmental Services Center (NESC) launched Smart About Water, a project in partnership with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) designed to assist small communities in their efforts to protect drinking water quality. Funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the project helped develop and provide training and technical assistance about source water and wellhead protection, and focused on untreated wastewater from failing septic and sewer systems, the largest contributor to water quality degradation. Read more to find out how you can help this program continue.
About the Program
SMART About Water Helps America's Small Communities Protect Their Source Water
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," Benjamin Franklin famously stated more than 250 years ago. This simple philosophy informs a new environmental project—SMART About Water—designed to protect drinking water quality.
Funded by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), SMART About Water is being orchestrated by West Virginia University's National Environmental Services Center (NESC) in partnership with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP). The program is called SMART About Water, for Strategic Management and Available Resources and Technology. It is required to provide training and technical assistance about source water and wellhead protection planning to small and rural communities over the next 18 months and will focus on untreated wastewater from failing septic and sewer systems, the largest contributor to water quality degradation.
According to EPA, communities derive several important benefits when they protect their source water:
- . If source water is contaminated it threatens public health.
- . The better the water is when it reaches the treatment plant, the easier and cheaper it is to treat.
- . The cost of dealing with contaminated groundwater ranges from 30 to more than 200 times the cost of wellhead protection.
- . Clean water and healthy ecosystems are vital in terms of quality of life for both humans and animals.
Although water quality has improved in the three decades since passage of the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts, pollution problems linger. Previous efforts concentrated on reducing point-source pollution, such as from industrial sites. Water quality issues now are related to the cumulative effect of nonpoint source pollution—untreated wastewater, agricultural fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater runoff, and roadway pollutants—that impact the physical, chemical, and biological health of nearby waters.